BANGKOK, September 17, 2014 - Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and Freeland today launched WildScan, a new endangered species identification and response mobile application for law enforcement to use in combatting the multi-billion dollar illegal wildlife trade. The mobile application is designed to help law enforcement officials respond to wildlife trafficking, an illicit trade estimated at $19 billion per year and run by organized criminal syndicates. WildScan contains photos and critical information for over 280 endangered species and illegal wildlife products commonly trafficked into and throughout Southeast Asia to assist in proper identification and rapid response.
3 April 2014 Acting on a tip-off, officers from the Agri-Food & Veterinary Authority of Singapore (AVA) and Singapore Customs worked together to intercept and detain a shipment of illegal ivory, estimated to be worth S$2 million.
15 January 2014 - 567 snakes were found from a car at 105 mile checkpoint of Muse Township, Shan State, Myanmar by a team comprised of officials from Forest Department and Mobile Inspection Team. Of all confiscations, 66 viper and 29 cobra were transferred to No.1, Pharmaceutical Industry (Yangon) for medicinal purposes while 472 racer snakes were released into Shwe-U-Daung Wildlife Sanctuary. The suspect for that case is being investigated.
Don't ever pass up a chance to watch a slideshow featuring Josefina De Leon. These photos certainly won't put you to sleep. The camera follows her along rural roads and into back streets of cities across the Philippines, where she and her colleagues pursue traffickers and make major busts of illegally traded wildlife. Ever the undaunted force relentlessly exposing smuggling, De Leon is now also famous not for tickling the ivory, but for crushing it.
For the past 13 years, De Leon has been the tireless leader at the forefront of the Philippines' fight to protect its wildlife and natural resources. She is Chief of the Philippines Department of Environment and Natural Resources' Wildlife Resources Division. Long title - tall order.
OPERATION COBRA II PRESS RELEASE - 10th FEBRUARY 2014
African, Asian and North American Law Enforcement Officers Team up to Apprehend Wildlife Criminals
Law Enforcement officers from 28 countries today announced that they completed a joint one month global operation on January 27th , code-named "Operation Cobra II" targeting wildlife criminals. The global wildlife law enforcement operation was coordinated by two International Coordination Teams (ICTs) based in Nairobi and Bangkok respectively, and was conducted under the auspices of the Lusaka Agreement Task Force (LATF) and China's National Inter-agency CITES Enforcement Coordination Group (NICECG), with links to countries across Africa, Asia and the USA. Operation Cobra II resulted in over 400 arrests and more than 350 major wildlife seizures. The cooperative effort also saw the first ever joint China-Africa undercover sting operation that identified and arrested members of a major ivory trafficking syndicate.
During Operation Cobra II, investigators from participating countries joined together with the World Customs Organization (WCO), Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), INTERPOL, LATF, ASEAN Wildlife Enforcement Network (ASEAN-WEN) and the South Asia Wildlife Enforcement Network (SAWEN) and exchanged real time intelligence on a daily basis, targeting poachers and traffickers of endangered elephants, rhinos, tigers, pangolins, turtles and other species sought by criminals.
7 December 2013 - 788 snakes were found to be transported by two motor vehicles at (16) mile checkpoint of Patheingyi Township, Mandalay Region by a team of officials from Forest Department, Custom Department and Myanmar Police Force. All the alive vipers were saved and transferred to No.1 Pharmaceutical Industry (Yangon) for medicinal purposes, while alive racer snakes were released back into the nearest protected area, Shwe-U-Daung Wildlife Sanctuary. And the dead ones were set ablaze for destruction. The motor vehicles employed for transport remained at the Custom Department Office of Patheingyi Township, Mandalay Region. One defendantwas being charged in accordance with section 35(a) of the Protection of Wildlife and Protected Areas Law (1994) and shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to three years or with fine of up to Kyats 10,000 or both. The other one allegedly involved was also put into the custody for further investigation.
12 October 2013 - A hand-made rifle together with other hunting gears and a pair of chain block believed to be used in logging were found unattended by wildlife rangers of Alaungdaw Kathapa National Park during their regular patrol inside the park. A hand-made rifle was kept at the Police Station of Yinmapin Township for further investigation.
16 October 2013 - Forest Department Officials found 33.26 kilograms of dried meat of wild cow or banteng (Bos banteng ) and 0.5 cubic meter of teak sawn-timber during their patrol in proposed North Zamrari Elephant Range. The dried meats confiscated were destroyed, and no suspect could be identified for that case.
17 October 2013 - Two alive pangolins were seized from two persons on a motorbike running on Mandalay-Lashio Highway Road by a team comprised of Forest Department Officials and Myanmar Police Force. The offenders are being charged in accordance with section 37(a) of the Protection of Wildlife and Protected Areas Law (1994) and shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to seven years or with fine of up to Kyats 50,000 or both. The confiscated pangolins were then released into their natural habitat near Lashio Township.
Wildlife Crime: Don’t be part of it!
UNODC launches new public service announcement to
raise awareness of criminal trade in wildlife products
Bangkok, 19 November 2013 – The illicit trade of wildlife and its derivatives to, from, and within Asia is worth billions of dollars annually. It fuels organized crime, corruption, and violence. This transnational crime has rarely been a priority for law enforcement and the criminal justice system, allowing traffickers to enjoy a high level of impunity so far.
A rich bio-diversity hot-spot, Southeast Asia and the Pacific is both a point of origin and destination for a significant trade in wildlife that threatens many vital and endangered species with extinction. Rare wildlife is consumed throughout Asia – but particularly in China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Viet Nam and Thailand – for luxury meals, and used for status symbol ornaments and in traditional medicine. Asia is now a significant consumer market for smuggled wildlife, driving the massive scale of poaching in Africa.
To highlight the urgency of this issue, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) Regional Office for Southeast Asia and the Pacific is launching a wildlife crime public service announcement (PSA) to raise awareness among young Asians that the buying, selling, and consuming of protected species is illegal and finances organized crime.
Myanmar authorities have continued to step up its national efforts to strengthen its commitments in curbing illegal wildlife trafficking and illegal logging.
From August to September of 2013, Myanmar authorities have been able to enforce its relevant wildlife legislations as follows:
16th August, 2013 - In collaboration with Myanmar Police Force, Forest Department officials seized one (1) alive Tokay (Gekko gecko) of 15 inches in length from two suspects at the transboundary checkpoint between Myanmar and India. The defendants are being charged in accordance with section 35 (a) of the Protection of Wildlife and Protected Areas Law (1994), which can be punished with imprisonment of up to 3 years, or fine of Kyats 10,000, or both.
22th August, 2013 - Forest Department officials seized 14 tortoises and 3 turtles at Oattwin Township in Bago Region and arrested a suspect. The suspect is being charged in accordance with section 35 (a) of the Protection of Wildlife and Protected Areas Law (1994), which can be punished with imprisonment of up to 3 years, or fine of Kyats 10,000, or both.
24th August, 2013 - Myanmar Police Force seized 47 pangolins from a suspect in Thahton Township of Mon State. All confiscated pangolins were released into their natural habitats. The defendant is being charged in accordance with section 37 (a) of the Protection of Wildlife and Protected Areas Law (1994), which can be punished with imprisonment of up to 7 years, or fine of up to Kyats 50,000, or both.
Countries of West Asia have agreed on a process aimed at strengthening regional cooperation to combat wildlife crime. The agreement was reached at a workshop hosted by Kuwait, from 29 to 31 October 2013, with the participation of officials from eight countries of West Asia: Bahrain, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.
The workshop was organized at the request of the CITES Member States (Parties) of West Asia, in order to consult with regional government officials involved in CITES implementation and law enforcement, including police and Customs, as well as the national CITES Management Authorities and relevant experts. The aim was to consider the need for, and feasibility of, establishing a regional network to coordinate the enforcement of laws that regulate trade in wildlife and to share intelligence. It was organized jointly by the Environment Public Authority of Kuwait, the CITES Secretariat and the West Asia Regional Office of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP-ROWA), with the financial support of the European Commission.
Source, transit and destination countries meet to develop concrete strategies and actions to combat the poaching of rhinoceros and the illegal trade in rhinoceros horn
Nairobi/Geneva, 31 October 2013 – The Secretariat of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) hosted a CITES Rhinoceros Enforcement Task Force meeting in cooperation with its partners in the International Consortium on Combating Wildlife Crime (ICCWC), in Nairobi, Kenya, from 28 to 29 October 2013.
The meeting was attended by 52 representatives from 21 countries that play a role as source, transit or destination countries in the illegal rhinoceros horn trade chain. Participants included senior law enforcement officers representing Customs, the police and wildlife authorities from Africa, Asia, Europe and North America, as well as representatives from wildlife enforcement networks.
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